An Arizona man shot and killed his two young daughters before turning the gun on himself in a final display of the violence that had previously scared his ex-wife into taking out an order of protection against the man, according to reports.
Phoenix police checking on the welfare of Carmen Arismendez’s ex-husband and their two daughters found the man and young girls shot at his West Elmwood Street home about 10 p.m. Sunday, The Arizona Republic reported.
Jerad Joseph Arismendez, 36, and his 5-year-old daughter Audrey Arismendez were found dead, while Ariah Arismendez, 4, succumbed to her injuries at the hospital, authorities said.
Investigators believe the deaths to be a murder-suicide.
The children lived with their mother, who filed and received an order of protection against her ex in June after his “violent tendencies” and harassment led the woman to “fear for her safety,” according to court records obtained by The Republic.
Jerad Arismendez reportedly threatened his ex-wife, she said, writing: “He lives one minute away from me and can come over to ‘take care of me’ whenever... I fear for my safety as he has violent tendencies.”
He called her as many as 50 times a day, she reported, noting an instance in which he held her in a “choke hold” while she was getting ready for work.
Carmen Arismendez said her ex also took away her cell and work phones to prevent her from calling police, writing: “He threatened harm if I tried to leave because ‘he can’t live without us,’” The Republic reported.
The girls — whose sister is boxer and Olympic hopeful Ariel Arismendez — were visiting their father for the weekend when they were killed.
“They were victims of a tragic incident and we will miss them so much,” their cousin, Maira Garcia, wrote on a GoFundMe page for the children.
“This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do,” Garcia wrote of having to set up a fund for her slain cousins, recounting how precious they were.
“They were the happiest little girls I know and so full of life and happiness and adventure,” she wrote. “They always had a smile on their faces and were the sweetest, most genuine kids. Audrey had just started kindergarten and Ariah was looking forward to joining her sister in school.”
The page had raised more than $10,100 of its $16,000 goal by Tuesday.